'Furious 7' Star Ludacris Learns About His Surprising Relatives

The rapper-actor gets some surprises during his chat with writer A.J. Jacobs

Photo: Colin McConnell/Getty; Maury Phillips/Getty

Author A.J. Jacobs is mapping out a giant family tree in hopes of finding out how we’re all one big, happy family. Then, on June 6, he’ll hold a giant family reunion. (See globalfamilyreunion.com for details.)

Each month until then, Jacobs will be interviewing one of his famous “cousins” for PEOPLE. This month: Ludacris, who stars in Furious 7, the latest installment of the The Fast and the Furious franchise, and recently released his new album Ludaversal.

We are cousins 38 degrees removed.
Well, all right, cuz, all right.

I found out one of your aunts married a Harlem Globetrotter.
I didn’t know that. I used to be a fan of theirs, so that is extra cool.

Your great-great-grandfather was Native American.
Yeah, I knew about that. Choctaw Indian and let me ask you this, man. I’m a light-skinned black man, so how high up does it trace to where I’m not African-American? I’ve kind of always wondered that.

You do have white people among your ancestors. Your great-great- grandfather was named Luther Smith and he was from England and he was probably Jewish, according to your great-grandmother. I’m Jewish. So you and I are mishpocheh.
I’m going to have to do some homework on this.

Did you know you’re pretty close cousins with Richard Pryor?
Yep, he’s like my fifth or sixth or seventh cousin, something like that? I never got a chance to meet him. But I’m a big fan of his.

What was the best advice you think your parents gave you?
My father said, “Always think before you do.”

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